BREAKING THE NIMBY LAW OF ATTRACTION

 

NIMBY law of attraction motivates citizens living within the community-at-large to mobilize against a corporation for the purposes of delaying, disrupting and defeating high-profile, multi-million dollar land use projects.

This phenomena is infamously known as NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard), where vocal opposition successfully attack multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporations to protect the status quo from new sustainable development.

NIMBY uprisings are no stranger to the real estate and land development community.  Unfortunately, it happens more often than many realize, and the staggering evidence is hiding in plain sight:

Every year, thousands of projects are ensnared in the web of community conflict over controversial projects that are characterized in the media as David vs. Goliath.

Every year, thousands of part-time elected officials side with angry residents, to vote against legal and sustainable land use projects – especially during election years.

Every year, our economy loses billions of dollars in investment capital, economic growth and jobs to angry residents who defeat sustainable projects with no budget, no lawyers, no office space, and no PR consultants (this is changing, however, due to DC interest groups).

3 Signs of NIMBY Law of Attraction

One, if not all three of these signs, indicates a NIMBY Law of Attraction has latched onto your project:

Public hearings that turn into Jerry Springer episodes is the first sign.  Too often, applicants become deer in the headlights when they’re unexpectedly ambushed by local residents resulting in project delays and negative publicity that emboldens the opposition, while antagonizing the elected body.

Patrick Slevin

Sign number two is when the mayor or public official asks the applicant to host a town hall meeting to educate the public.  This request usually stems from mounting pressure elected officials are feeling from a few dozen calls and emails, or when city hall is overrun by angry neighbors. This is an indication that the elected body is lacking social confidence in corporate developers and their application.  When this occurs, the opposition has secured the political and strategic high grounds, resulting in 9 out of 10 town hall meetings turning into media spectacles.

The third sign that your project is experiencing a NIMBY Law of Attraction is when elected officials privately tell you that they support the project, but they’re unable to support it publicly.  At least not until the political environment is much more conducive to risking their political capital.  In most cases, the political environment only gets worse until the project is withdrawn or voted down.

Breaking the NIMBY Law of Attraction

Breaking the NIMBY Law of Attraction begins with understanding that corporate developers who ignore, overlook or underestimate the community-at-large, the same community that grants the license to operate, is essentially increasing the risk of NIMBY opposition.

Put another way, every community has a NIMBY sleeper cell potential of residents and activists who are ready to mobilize opposition to any project. When a corporate applicant fails to implement a stakeholder assessment and community engagement element to their strategy, they’re essentially forfeiting the high ground, emboldening lone individuals (or DC-centric special interests) to mobilize, frame and drive the impending crisis.

No one wants to see their sustainable project put in the crosshairs of a NIMBY campaign.  Granted, not every project is opposed, but in reality, the odds are stacked against corporations attempting to secure land use and zoning changes for high profile, high stakes projects.

The NIMBY Law of Attraction is an equal opportunity risk factor.  Meaning, industries and projects spanning infill, mixed use, energy, residential, retail, industrial and commercial suffer the same consequences when the community-at-large is ignored or worst yet, alienated.

Corporate leaders and their representatives at the local level, should understand that the risks of ignoring the community-at-large is equivalent to rolling the dice on millions of dollars of investments, shareholder value and future market share.

By the time a sustainable project sees the signs of NIMBY Law Attraction, then it has become a costly crisis that has put the applicant on the defensive.

THE GOOD NEWS

The good news is that 80 percent of those projects that were delayed, disrupted or defeated by angry opponents could have had a more successful outcome had corporate developers taken proactive community outreach steps to reduce the risks of attracting community opposition.

The bottom line is corporate developers and their representatives have more control over the fate of their sustainable projects.  It’s a matter of choosing low risk and low investment of stakeholder engagement, or rolling the dice, hoping the NIMBY Law of Attraction will somehow not target your project.

The latter has been the popular business model, which has always played into the hands of those who are at the ready to attack city hall with their smartphones and Facebook pages.

The irony is corporate developers ask communities to accept change, but they’re not willing to change their business models in order to locate and educate the very same community influencers who are asked to support their multi-million dollar projects.

Those moments of decisions are when the NIMBY Law of Attraction is determined.

Will you generate the next NIMBY Law of Attraction for your project?

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Patrick Slevin is one of few national speakers and consultants considered a “NIMBY Expert”.  Mr. Slevin is a former Florida mayor, who for three decades has spoken, consulted, and written about mitigating the risks associated with status quo opposition.  Mr. Slevin’s entertaining presentations empower corporate executives on “how to” win political and community support for controversial projects. 

Learn more about Patrick and SL7 Consulting at www.PatrickSlevin.com.  If you’re interested in Patrick as your speaker or consultant, please email him for more information and to set up a call:  P.SL7@patrickslevin.com

The Reality of Death

Grim Reaper Standing in the Meadow

Last weekend, I spent most of my Saturday in a FL hospice with a man that I had only met one time before. He died early the next morning. He died with loved ones comforting him as he struggled to stay alive to the very end.

Death awaits us all. How you face death depends on how you face life. The more you allow yourself to be distracted by the illusions of the world, the harder your death will be. Death strips away the illusions that deceive us from knowing the truth about this world and ourselves in this world.

One of the secrets of life is realizing the truth during our life’s journey. To find the truth, you must have the character in place to handle and discern the realities of what’s wrong and what’s right. More importantly, having the faith and courage to do the right thing every time.

The illusions of the secular world help justify the wrongs, and in many cases redefine the wrongs into warped realities of right. Ex: Burning the American flag. It’s your legal right, but it still doesn’t make it right.

Bald Eagle and Flag

What do you see when you look in the mirror? When death comes calling, you will see your reflection. However, you won’t see the facade of your body, but rather the reflection of your character. Will you be satisfied or will you be struggling? I’ve witnessed many deaths, enough to say you don’t want to be struggling.

Death sucks, but how we die is determined by how we developed our personal relationship with God. Blaming God for the wrongs of this world is a self-imposed illusion. Don’t fall for it. God loves me, you and humankind. He created us in His image and it’s that image that we must strive to reflect in the mirror of life and the mirror of death.

Patrick Slevin is The Reality is Perception Expert™. Mr. Slevin is a special projects consultant working with corporate clients and special interests in altering and affirming the perceptions of stakeholders who impact their bottom line realities. For more information go to www.PatrickSlevin.com.

7 REASONS A BOY NAMED SUE IS THE GREATEST PR SONG EVER (by Patrick Slevin)

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Country music legend Johnny Cash’s greatest hit was his 1969 song titled, A Boy Named Sue. The song was recorded live at San Quentin Prison. Cash won a Grammy for Best Country Song and it hit number one on the country billboard and number two on the pop billboard (ironically Honky Tonk Women by the Rolling Stones was #1). More than 45 years later, the song prevails as the greatest public relations song ever recorded. To listen to A Boy Named Sue is to learn public relations.

1. TITLE: Any man named Sue is going to get attention, even in today’s culture. A Boy Named Sue grabs your attention and imagination. It hooks and draws you in to learn more. Public relations must have a hook to draw your attention in a sea of distractions and information overload.

2. STORY: The song tells a story about a three-year old boy whose father left him with a “guitar and an empty bottle of booze, but before he left, his father named him Sue.” Sue swore revenge to kill the man who gave him that awful name. The human race counts on stories to give us guidance. Public relations is about telling a story that teaches, informs and educates audiences.

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3. VENUE: Johnny Cash was an outlier not just for his rockabilly beat, but for breaking down barriers. He would turn his back to his audience as he played and he was the first to play and record live in prisons. Folsom Prison and San Quentin Prison were ground breaking in his day. Cash, only have read the song a few times, decided to sing it live for his San Quentin album. If you watch the video, A Boy Named Sue, you will notice Cash reading as he sings it. The venue added edge, energy and media hook that catapulted the song into American music history.

 

4. AUDIENCE: Prisons house criminals. A Boy Named Sue and the themes of revenge and fighting for self-respect spoke to the prisoners of San Quentin.

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 5. MESSAGE: Words matter in public relations. The message in the A Boy Named Sue resonated with the prisoners, and eventually Americans. The images of being an outcast, an outsider, and an underdog, fighting for self-respect struck a chord beyond the walls of San Quentin. This power of creating images with words is at the heart of public relations.

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6. CREDIBILITY: Johnny Cash was known as the “Man in Black”. Although, he never did any hard time in prison, he had spent several nights in various jails. His reputation as the humble bad boy, gave A Boy Named Sue credibility. In public relations the spokesperson, representative or organization must have credible character in order to establish trust, reinforce perspectives or change points of view.

7. POINT OF VIEW: Sue finally finds his father. After an all-out fight, Sue draws his gun to shoot his father dead. Before he fires, his father revealed the reasoning as to why he named him Sue. After giving a parable, Sue’s father concludes, “You ought to thank me before I die for the gravel in gut and the spit in your eye, because I’m the Son-of-Bitch who named you Sue.” Sue realized that his father was right and got all “choked up” and threw down his gun and called him Pa and came away with a “different point of view.” We, the people, are always looking for facts friends and opinions that reaffirm our beliefs and attitudes. As public relations professionals, we are charged with keeping audiences on the reservation or changing their perspectives. In a life or death situation, Sue discovers he had his dad figured all wrong and embraces the man who gave him that awful name.

 

 

A Boy Named Sue is without question one of the greatest anthems of public relations. The song’s message is as timeless as human history. Still, naming your boy Sue is just cruel and worse than a PR pro saying NO COMMENT to the media.

About Patrick Slevin

Patrick Slevin is a motivational and communications professional leading his firm, SL7 Communications. Patrick is a former mayor, Fortune 500 manager, national trade association director and international agency executive. As a “special projects consultant”, Patrick identifies, designs, and implements innovative solutions for his clients.

For the last 12 years, corporate leaders from around the country have retained Patrick for his strategic counsel, campaign leadership and organizational solutions.

For more information go to www.PatrickSlevin.com.

Or contact Patrick directly to schedule an exploratory, confidential call at 850.597.0423 or pslevin68@gmail.com.